IEA Chief Warns Emerging Countries Are Most Vulnerable to Surging Energy Prices

International Energy Agency Executive Director Fatih Birol warned emerging and developing countries are most vulnerable to soaring energy prices.

“It is not the U.S. who will suffer the most [from] the high energy prices,” Birol told CNBC on Tuesday.

Birol has predicted that oil-importing countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America will suffer the most as a result of rising import prices and a devaluation of their currencies.

“We are in the middle of the first truly global energy crisis,” Birol said. “Our world has never ever witnessed an energy crisis with this depth and complexity.”

He also stated that oil markets will remain volatile as long as Russia’s war in Ukraine continues.

OPEC+ agreed to steep output cuts at the start of the month in order to foster a recovery in petroleum prices, despite requests from the United States to pump more to support the global economy.

Birol referred to the energy alliance’s decision as “unprecedented” and compared it to “scoring an own goal.”

If prices continue to rise, the economy will start “flirting with a recession,” he said, creating a situation that is bad for both buyers and sellers.